Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
BLACK TUSK, THOU, MONSTRO
7 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
Hailing from Savannah, Ga. (home of co-conspirators like Baroness and Kylesa), Black Tusk mixes elements of hardcore (think early Black Flag) and nasty Motorhead ass-kicking with the hammering riff-violence of classic Slayer. The band isn't shy about locking down on a bitchin' groove or unfurling an effects-laden swirl of psychedelic guitar every once in a while. But overall, don't look for a lot of weedly-weedly fret-board acrobatics. Black Tusk is all about the bludgeoning. As with many Southern metal bands, the inestimable Eyehategod is a foundational element for Baton Rouge's Thou. But from the sludgy blues metal of its forebear, Thou expands in nearly every direction, from caustic black metal throat shredding to grindcore blast beats to occasional moments of Floyd-ian space-out to gloomy post-rock atmospherics. Monstro is a relatively new act out of Atlanta, with personnel formerly of Torche and Bloodsimple, and hearkens back to classic hard-rock giants like Rush and The Who. Locals Iron Tongue and Weedbeast round out what will be, without question, one of the best metal shows of the year, at a place that gets a whole lotta great metal shows. RB.
EPIPHANY FEAT. GINA GEE & ONE NIGHT STAND
9:30 p.m. Stickyz. $10.
Local rap standout Epiphany returns to town after a mini-tour that took him and local R&B diva Gina Gee throughout the South — Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Dallas. Thursday's show marks the end of that "Such Is Life" tour and the end, at least for the near future, of Epiphany and Gina Gee performing with their backing band, One Night Stand. Those who appreciate hip-hop being performed well on stage will want to make it out to this one, where another local rapper, Kwestion, will also be performing with a live band, Machetes and Spoons, and celebrating the release of a new album. Little Rock's go-to emcee, Osyrus Bolly, hosts. LM.
DOWNTOWN TIP OFF CLUB: MIKE ANDERSON
11:15 a.m. Wyndham Riverfront Hotel. $15-$20.
While most folks are maintaining reasonable expectations for what could shape up to be a rocky season, there is an undeniable level of excitement about Mike Anderson's return to The Hill. The new head coach of the Razorback men's basketball team is, of course, no stranger to Fayetteville. He served as assistant coach to Nolan Richardson during the heyday of the program, which saw three trips to the NCAA Final Four and a national championship in 1994. Anderson's approach is rooted in the intense pressure, "40 minutes of hell" style of play that Richardson made the hallmark of the hoop Hogs. Anderson himself has tempered early expectations, telling The Birmingham News that this first season might be more like "25 minutes of hell, and 15 minutes of 'What the hell are we doing?' " But after more than a decade of middling basketball, Razorback fans are understandably excited about Anderson coming home to Bud Walton Arena. It'll be nice to see packed houses once again at The House that Nolan Built. The Hogs take on the Houston Cougars at Verizon Arena Friday night at 7 p.m. RB.
FLAMEING DAETH FEARIES, GLITTERCORE
8 p.m. Vino's. $8.
For an evening of unbridled rock 'n' roll hedonism, this raht cheer should do nicely. Local troublemaking four-piece Flameing Daeth Fearies has all the subtlety of a screaming, drunken frat bro streaking the quad with a fifth of vodka in one hand and half-inflated blow-up doll in the other. But you know what? There's a time and place for everything, and sometimes that dude is the exact dude you want at your party. You know, to liven things up and make everyone laugh while also invading their personal space and making them feel a just a tiny bit uncomfortable. What else would you expect from a band with songs called "French Bitch," "Luke Is Gay" and "Tranny Granny"? Glittercore is a relatively new act with folks from Trusty, Il Libertina, Techno Squid Eats Parliament and several others. The band's got a glam rock steeze, evidenced by singer/guitarist Paul Bowling's recent solo turn as David Bowie at White Water Tavern's Halloween cover-up show (check out his version of "Life On Mars?" on YouTube). Opening act Jab Jab Sucker Punch plays loud-ass rock, a kind of sobered-up Big Boss Line, according to an inside source. The band features two former BBL members, as well as personnel from The Moving Front and Ashtray Babyhead. It's an all-ages show. RB.
OWEN TEMPLE, ADAM CARROLL
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
Here's one that is sure to satisfy all you fans of countrified, folky Texas singer/songwriters in the mold of Guy Clark, Terry Allen, Townes Van Zandt et al. Perhaps not surprisingly, Adam Carroll and Owen Temple both call Austin home. The Austin Chronicle called Carroll one of the city's best-kept secrets among singer/songwriters. Temple's latest album, "Mountain Home," features guest spots and co-writing credits from Carroll and bass and guitar from Charlie Sexton, who has played in Dylan's backing band the last few years and is a celebrated songwriter in his own right. The album has earned solid reviews, including a nod on the blog Hyperbolium, which said "Mountain Home" is "an album that ingratiates itself on first pass, and reveals deep new details with each subsequent spin."
JIM MIZE, FRONTIER CIRCUS RECORD RELEASE SHOW
9:30 p.m. Maxine's. $5.
The Frontier Circus — the latest project from Rockin' Guys front man Rockin' Dan, now performing as Frontier Dan — bills itself as "A little bit psycho ... a little bit Western." The Central Arkansas band's debut album certifies that the group is probably more than "a little bit" of either of those things. It starts off with a punked-up take on "You're Gonna Miss Me," the classic three-minute garage-rock blast to end all others. Its feedback squall and unhinged feel are reminiscent of Sonic Youth's frighteningly deranged version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog." The album wraps up with a similarly screeching version of "(Tonight) The Bottle Let Me Down," one of the finest drunkard's laments in the history of country music. The fact that the Frontier Circus record starts with a 13th Floor Elevators song and ends with a Merle Haggard tune – and that they don't sound that different from one another – is telling. This album is shot through with pulsing, reverb-heavy vocals and Velvet Underground-esque six-string damage. So naturally, a Velvets cover is in order, in this case a version of "Heroin" that sounds more like a bite-sized take on "Sister Ray" than the free-floating Sturm und Drang of the original. Other tunes include numbers made famous by the likes of Johnny Paycheck, Wanda Jackson and Porter Wagoner (a demented version of the already pretty demented psych-country nugget "The Rubber Room"). The country classics are interspersed with psychedelic standards like "White Rabbit" and "Venus." But really, the album sounds cohesive and the band puts its own indelible stamp on these incredibly disparate songs. Headlining the show is Conway's Jim Mize, one of the finest songwriters the state has ever produced. RB.
JAZZ TRIBUTE TO MILES DAVIS AND JOHN COLTRANE
9 p.m. Ferneau. $10-$15.
Are you one of those unfortunate types who think avant-garde jazz is boring or overly intellectual or impenetrably cacophonous? Then do yourself a favor and go listen to "Africa/Brass" by the John Coltrane Quartet and "In a Silent Way" by Miles Davis, then come back and finish reading this. Go ahead, I'll wait. There. See? You've just experienced indescribable beauty and wonder expressed through the genius of two of the truly towering figures of music. You're welcome. If, though, these albums leave you unmoved, then I suggest you give up on music and move on to a career in debt collection or right-wing political commentary or some similar pursuit that doesn't require the having of a soul. Rodney Block and The Real Music Lovers team up with Velvet Kente's Joshua and Dee Davis for this tribute show. RB.
"PREGNANT BY THE PASTOR"
5 p.m., 7 p.m. Riverdale 10 Cinema. $10-$20.
This is the debut feature-length film from author and filmmaker SaTonya Ford, originally of Crossett. As we learn from the trailer, "Pregnant by the Pastor" is "a story of betrayal, deceit and sin." The film reminds viewers that sometimes, not even the sanctity of the pulpit is safe from transgression and the temptations of the flesh. It seems that Pastor Norman has gotten himself into a spot of trouble by impregnating one of the members of his flock. As word spreads, rumors start to fly and tensions begin to rise. What will Pastor Norman do? There is only one way to find out. Includes two red-carpet screenings, with a cast Q&A and photo opportunities.
Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…